SAN LUIS OBISPO – Senior midfielder Matt LaGrassa (top) placed the Cal Poly men's soccer program ahead with his team-leading fourth goal of 2015 and freshman forward Jared Pressley produced the game-winner and his first collegiate goal Saturday evening as the Mustangs pushed their unbeaten run to six successive matches by topping UC Riverside inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, 2-1.
Senior goalkeeper Wade Hamilton chalked up a single save for Cal Poly (7-2-3, 2-0-2), which allowed just its second goal during the previous 522 minutes of action. The Big West's top defensive program, Cal Poly leads the conference with a 0.79 goals against average and has allowed just nine goals from open play in 12 matches.
Cal Poly also improved to 4-0-1 at Spanos Stadium this season, having conceded just three goals at home.
With Saturday's victory, Cal Poly moved to eight points in the Big West North Division standings, but still trail leader UC Santa Barbara by four. The Gauchos (9-3-1, 4-0-0) upped their total to 12 with a 2-1 overtime home victory versus Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.
Cal Poly opens play versus Big West Conference North Division opposition when visiting UC Davis on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 3 p.m. The Mustangs then close next week by hosting UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Oct. 17 in the opening leg of the 2015 Blue-Green rivalry series.
The Mustangs held UC Riverside without a shot on goal for the opening 76 minutes and took the lead for certain on 30 minutes as senior midfielder Chase Minter crossed from the right side of the penalty area to LaGrassa, who headed strike No. 4 of 2015 over Highlanders goalkeeper Ashkan Khosravi and into the side netting.
The Big West's active career leader with 17 goals and 39 points, LaGrassa now ranks fourth all-time in Mustangs program history for goals and seventh in points.
Cal Poly outshot the Highlanders 10-5 during the first half, 6-3 in the second and doubled the lead 10 minutes from full time as sophomore midfielder Joseph Bolous played a through ball to the left side of the UC Riverside penalty area for Pressley. Making his first career start, Pressley slotted an attempt past UC Riverside substitute goalkeeper Vincent Morales.
UC Riverside pulled a goal back in the 84th minute as senior forward Michael Salazer fired an attempt into the Cal Poly net from 18 yards. The goal was only a consolation, however, as Cal Poly topped UC Riverside for the ninth time in the previous 10 meetings.